Mini-Distance Free Workout
Jake Gyllenhaal Goes Running

Swim Golf Drill

In the last week I've actually read two books about swimmers.  The first book entitled "Off the Deep End" AMAZON LINK by W. Holding Carter is a story about a middle age man's quest to make the 2008 US Olympic Swimming Team.  The second book entitled "Straight Talk From A Gay Jock" by Mark Tewksburry AMAZON LINK is the story of former Canadian Olympic Swimmer's struggle on being a gay closeted athlete and how by coming out that all changed for the good and for the bad.  I recommend both books for reasons that actually were not the reasons why I picked these books in the first place.  I liked "Off the Deep End" for it's light hearted swimming moments.  The author Holding Carter comes off as a macho jerk from time to time but the people around him make up for all his bad points.  The one thing that made me chuckle was his need to stop other lap swimmers and correct what he saw as bad stroke technique.  Although I don't stop other swimmers I notice more and more other swimmers errors.   As for "Straight Talk From A Gay Jock" I didn't care so much for Mark Tewksbury struggle with coming out of the closet what interested me was the inner workings of the IOC which he served in various aspects over the years. 

Reading these two books on swimming / swimmers made me start to think about drills and technique.  After some google searches I found an interesting found drill set called Swim Golf.  I actually found a few variations on it in my searches but the easiest explanation of it can be found at  Here is the gist of it in my own words:

Have everyone swim a timed regular pace freesyle 50 counting strokes. While they are all finishing up the coach is yelling off finsihing times.  Each lane will have a white board and markers with a pre-printed 9 Hole Golf Scroe Cad on it.  The swimmer will add his stroke count to his time for the fifty.  This number will be his par for the swim.  Example this morning I did a 19 count on a 25 so for my 50 yard count would be 38.  Let's say I did this 50 on the 32 seconds mark.  Add 32 and 38 which is 70 that would be my par. 

Now I would do or the swimmers would do 9x50's on a 1 minute.

Still counting storkes and after each 50 add that to his new time.  That would be his score for the hole.  As you / the swimmer is swimming you can see if you are on par or not.  Bogey anyone?  At the end of your / the swimmers 9x50's he has his Golf Swim Score.  Now let's say you / the swimmer do this set once every month you / the swimmer can chart your technique improvement or lack of improvement. 

Plus after this set if you / the swimmer has a nice long set hopefully and in theory DPS or Distance Per Stroke will so be engrained in the head of you / the swimmer it'll come naturally.  As opposed to in a normal workout the coach just saying okay now we are doing a 400 DPS.  Well by the main setlater you / the swimmer pretty much have blocked out stoke count and DPS.  Or least that is what I do.  That is why I like this set.  I forwarded it to a coach and a few of my fellow lap swimmers.  At the very least I'll be trying it out on my own soon.  Instead of wearing plaid pants I'll be wearing my plaid pink speedo from Splish.


About a month ago I started doing the 'golf' drill pretty much every day - after starting with slow laps that just focus on each detail of my stroke. I figure that, if I can't be strong (and inasmuch as I'm old, I probably can't be), then my best hope is to be technically more proficient. I've started doing the same with backstroke, by the way. Back in the old days (I swam at the same school where Hodding Carter swam, but a generation earlier), I'd take 18 freestyle strokes to get across a 25-yard pool and now, with more modern technique, I've cut my stroke count to 11-15 in free and under 14 in back. It was a lot of work, so I sure hope it translates into speed ...

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